FW: The Secular Society and Its Enemies

From: Geoffrey
Sent on: Tuesday, September 11, 2007 11:48 AM

 

Center For Inquiry News & Updates

 

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The Secular Society and
Its Enemies

Religion, Secularism & Politics in the Twenty-First Century

November 9 - 11, 2007

Join the world’s most distinguished defenders of science and secularism!

The 2007 Conference of the Center for Inquiry-New York City will take place at the New York Academy of Sciences at 7 World Trade Center in downtown Manhattan, overlooking the World Trade Center site and construction site of the Freedom Tower. Renowned speakers, scholars, and media personalities will meet to discuss the future of reason and secularism in an America and a world increasingly divided by religion.

Themes include:

  • The Age of American Unreason
  • The Next Islamic Enlightenment
  • Science and the Public
  • Student Freethinkers Speak Out
  • Secularism through History: from Spinoza to JFK
  • VIP Reception and Awards Presentation (with the International Academy of Humanism)

Speakers & Presenters include:


Christopher Hitchens


Alan Dershowitz


Neil deGrasse Tyson


Peter Singer


Wendy Kaminer


Paul Kurtz


Ann Druyan


Nat Hentoff


Susan Jacoby


Eugenie C. Scott


Victor Stenger

 

Schedule

Friday, Nov. 9

6:00 – 7:00 PM

Registration & Welcome Reception (with cocktails and hors d'oeuvres)

7:00 – 7:30 PM

Opening remarks (Paul Kurtz, Chairman, CFI; Derek Araujo, Executive Director, CFI-NYC; Austin Dacey, UN Representative)

7:30 – 8:30 PM

Gala Award Presentations:

  • Matthew LaClair: recipient, James Madison Religious Liberty Award; presentation by Nat Hentoff (journalist, historian, and social critic)
  • International Academy of Humanism presentation of Humanist Laureate awards to Christopher Hitchens (journalist, literary critic, author of god is not Great); Neil deGrasse Tyson (astrophysicist, author, Director of the Hayden Planetarium and host of NOVA scienceNOW); Ann Druyan (media producer, author, and writer (with her late husband Carl Sagan) of the television series Cosmos)
  • Carl Sagan birthday tribute (presentation by Ann Druyan & Neil deGrasse Tyson)

8:30 – 9:00 PM

Address by Edward Tabash (lawyer, social activist, and champion of church-state separation)

Saturday, Nov. 10

9:00 – 9:30 AM

Check In

9:30 – 10:30 AM

Panel: Secularism Through History: from Spinoza to JFK: Susan Jacoby (writer, historian, author of Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism); Rebecca Goldstein (philosopher, novelist, and author of Betraying Spinoza); Jennifer Michael Hecht (author, Doubt: A History); Austin Dacey (philosopher and author, The Secular Conscience)

10:30 – 11:30 AM

Address by Christopher Hitchens (journalist, literary critic, author of god is not Great)

11:30 – 11:45 AM

(Break)

11:45 AM – 12:30 PM

Panel: Religion & Politics in America: Wendy Kaminer (lawyer, feminist writer, social critic); Michelle Goldberg (author, Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism); Damon Linker (journalist and author, The Theocons)

12:30 – 2:00 PM

(Lunch Break)

2:00 – 3:00 PM

Panel: Islam & Secularism/The Next Islamic Enlightenment: Ibn Warraq (Islamic scholar and author, Why I Am Not a Muslim); Tawfik Hamid (scholar, author, and dissident of Islamic fundamentalism); Paul Berman (author, journalist and political commentator); and others

3:00 – 3:45 PM

What is a Center for Inquiry? (Paul Kurtz, Chairman, CFI; Derek Araujo, Executive Director, CFI-NYC; Austin Dacey, UN Representative; DJ Grothe, Vice President of Outreach, Host of Point of Inquiry)

3:45 – 4:00 PM

(Break)

4:00 – 4:45 PM

Address by Peter Singer (Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics, Princeton University)

4:45 – 5:30 PM

Address by an Unannounced, Very Special Guest

Sunday, Nov. 11

9:00 – 9:30 AM

Check In

9:30 – 10:30 AM

Panel: Student Humanists Speak Out/The Future of Secularism (Matthew LaClair; Mark Anthony Smith; Derek Araujo; DJ Grothe; Nica Lalli, author of Nothing: Something to Believe In; and others)

10:30 – 11:15 AM

Address by Alan Dershowitz (Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law, Harvard Law School)

11:15 – 11:30 AM

(Break)

11:30 AM – 12:30 PM

Panel: Science Education and the Public Understanding of Science: Ann Druyan (media producer, author, and writer (with her late husband Carl Sagan) of the television series Cosmos); Neil deGrasse Tyson (astrophysicist, author, Director of the Hayden Planetarium and host of NOVA scienceNOW); Eugenie C. Scott (physical anthropologist, executive director of the National Center for Science Education); Victor Stenger (physicist, author of God: The Failed Hypothesis)

12:30 – 1:00 PM

Concluding remarks

A Time of Challenge and Opportunity

The world is finally waking up to the dangers of religious faith. Books defending reason and religious skepticism top the bestseller lists. Secular Muslims are standing up for freedom of thought. The secular perspective has finally gained currency in the media and in cross-cultural dialogue. Young freethinkers and secularists are organizing and speaking out on campuses, ready to carry the torch of secularism into the new millennium.

Yet religious fervor in the United States and abroad remains at an all-time high. Science education suffers from the constant onslaught of creationist activists. Democratic politicians have joined Republicans in pandering to religious prejudices. The American courts are stacked with judges who openly denigrate the nation’s vital and historic separation of church and state. Islamic radicalism is on the rise in Europe as well as in the Middle East. In many ways, societies the world over face the ominous threat of de-secularization.

How do we seize this moment of opportunity to address secularism’s many challenges? How can secularists build a lasting movement? What political and rhetorical strategies should the reality-based community employ? Does vocal criticism of religion help or hinder the cause of secularism? Hear the thoughts of the world’s leading minds on these and many other questions.

Register Now!

World Trade Center Memorial Site

 


 

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